Blog Post Tile buy v build

Buy vs. Build Data Management Solution

In the past year, we met with over 50 providers who are evaluating the buy vs build decision for their data management and analytics strategy for their healthcare system.   We wanted to bring together common points to consider when calculating an ROI.

  1. Analytical Tools – Analytic vendors vary so fully investigate the ones that fit your needs. Frequent questions we heard the most from providers was:
    • Is this compatible with my current system?
    • Is it intuitive for a non-technical person to use?
    • Can we drill-down from dashboards into the data?
    • Is this tool healthcare data specific?
    • Are their self-service tools available so I am less reliant on the vendor?
  2. Data Management – Analytics is just one piece of the data management strategy. Dashboards and reports are only as good as the data collected. Data standardization and business rules are typically developed to ensure consistent and reliable analytics.  Having a partner that understands your needs and configures these rules ensures more reliable results
  3. Database – Where are you going to store this centralized database? Data warehouse cost and maintenance can escalate quickly depending on size of data and use of system.  While there are many hosting vendors which can reduce the upfront cost, usually this is a sliding scale so be prepared and budget for annual increase in hosting or if on premise additional hardware.Data Security – Adding an external analytical system to your EMR exposes another data security risk. Does your organization want to take on this burden?  What about controls for HIPAA and making sure the data is encrypted at rest and in motion.
  4. Mack Truck Theory – When building an internal system, who knows the technical ins and outs of the internal data management system. We have found that companies who have developed something internally has a sole person responsible for this data system.   What happens if that person is hit by a Mack truck? Is out on short-term leave?  Changes roles or worse yet changes jobs?  What is the backup plan and who are you going to turn to?  Having a strategic partner who knows your system can help answer questions, cross train people, and provide support is vital to your ongoing success.
  5. Human Capital – People are needed to run an internal data management project and IT support is vital. Project Management (PM) can be a fixed cost of the organization but competing projects/time/and opportunity cost is something each organization will need to examine.
  6. Data Integration – How are you going to integrate data from different data systems? Who is responsible for developing and maintaining the interfaces? What happens if the EMR or practice management system changes?
  7. Time to Market – We have found that internal data management or analytic projects can draw out the timeline until you are up and running. Development, Testing, and Training are all needed for a successful rollout.  In one case, we heard a provider was 6 months into a building a data management project and only 30% completed.  What is that costing your business and what insights are you missing out on?
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